PAX East 2014 | Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – I'll Fly Standby

In theory, more Borderlands is always a good thing. Yet something was off when I was watching the twenty minute demonstration of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

It’s not the fact that I’ll have to drag my old console out from the shelf and hook it back into my TV; I’d be playing on PC. And it’s not the fact that I’d have to do more looting and more shooting; Borderlands has proven to always remain fresh. Still, there’s something that isn’t sitting well with me regarding the game’s reveal. Let’s go over what I saw at PAX East this morning and see if we can’t find an answer.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place on the Hyperion moon base we saw so much of during Borderlands 2. Originally, we were whalers on the moon, equipped with our harpoons. Sadly, there weren’t any whales, meaning all we can do is tell tall tales and sing our whaling tune.

Just kidding. We’re still killing enemies and looting chests. We’ll be doing things a bit differently this time, though. The first, and most obvious, change is the fact that when walking on the surface of the moon, there’s very little gravity. A new item has been created to allow players to breathe oxygen: the Oz kit. It’s not just for show either; you better believe this baby has some stats to it.

In terms of weapons, we were shown two new types: Cyro (frozen) and lasers. They’re both exactly what you think they are: Cryo weapons fire frozen bullets that, over time, freeze your enemies and lasers are, well, lasers. Frozen enemies smashed into thousands of tiny pieces made for small humor, but it’s not exactly the most practical way to kill your enemies. It was handy, though, to freeze bigger bosses.

While playable characters Claptrap and Wilhelm made cameos, the focus of our hands-off demo was on Athena, the gladiator and Captain America wannabe. Her special ability, a shield that absorbs incoming damage before dishing it back out, felt like a call back to the Hunter’s Bloodwing from the original Borderlands, minus the absorbed damage of course. Since I pretty much played the Hunter exclusively, I was immediately drawn to Athena. I can’t help but wonder how strong the character will be, though. Borderlands has always done a good job of balancing “OP” heroes with challenge, but this is 2K Australia doing the actual development, not Gearbox. We’ll have to wait and see if they have that same magic touch.

While die-hard fans are stoked about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, the PAX demonstration honestly did very little to entice me. Just how big is the game going to be? Will the franchise’s narrative continue to grow? Can it stand toe-to-toe with the vastly improved Diablo III: Reaper of Souls? Why didn’t they just announce Brothers in Arms to please this writer? It’s safe to say that based on my first impressions, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is going to be more of the same, but I’m not exactly sure if I’m 100% down for that.

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